August 9, 2017

Fashion Trends to Watch in 2018

Fashion is a constantly evolving industry, and one with a long and rich history. Changes in fashion trends reflect changes in society and technology; whereas all clothes were once made by hand, advances in manufacturing now allow us to mass produce clothes cheaply. This has added value to clothes that are still made by hand and elevated them to luxury item status. In addition, this ease of manufacturing has meant that fashion trends can now be set by just about anyone.

Fashion designers maintain a high degree of control over which trends emerge and which fall by the wayside, whereas trends used to be set by the preferences of those with a higher social status. It is notoriously difficult to predict which fashion trends will catch on, and the industry regularly throws up many surprises, but below is a guide to some of the emerging trends worth keeping an eye on during the next year.

Psychotropic

Psychotropic is a throwback to the psychedelic trends of the 1960’s. So-called hippy fashion has never really gone away and has remained popular as a cornerstone of youth counterculture since its inception. This is in spite of the commercialization involved that runs counter to the initial goals of the hippy movement. Modern manufacturing and textile techniques allow designers to be more creative in producing multi-colored, multi textured clothes and more complex patterning. Both psychedelic and psychotropic fashions take their cues from the natural world and the colors, patterns and textures combine to evoke memories of sunsets, flora and other examples of natural beauty. These natural evocations sit alongside bright and vibrant synthetic colors, highlighting the contrast between the synthetic clothes and the natural world they are trying to emulate.

The original psychedelic movement was largely inspired by the rise of psychedelic drugs which rapidly gained popularity among the youth counterculture of the time. The range of sensations, the nature of the epiphanies, and the hallucinations users experienced while under the influence of psychedelics such as LSD have since inspired a broad range of art, music and literature and, of course, fashion. The psychedelic fashion trend was not only a celebration of what many considered to be the most important aspects of this newly discovered youth culture but was also a way of expressing what many considered to be the most positive aspects of participating in the culture to outsiders.

A key theme of the psychedelic movement was its communal nature, valuing shared experiences and ideas as well as a sense of communalism over the individualism that conservative America was trying equally hard to push upon people at the time. This attitude is perhaps best demonstrated by the lack of big fashion names associated with the movement; it was a movement created by and for the hippy youth and resoundingly rejected any attempts to capitalize on it or twist it into a commercial venture.

As time went on the staples of hippy fashion such as the homemade tie-dye t-shirts were replaced with mass produced offerings that replicated the style and, gradually, the initial goals and purpose of psychedelic fashion fell away and was replaced by a commercialized imitation of what once was.

Psychotropic fashion is an attempt to rectify this injustice and to retain the style to its roots. Some argue that, when removed from the broader context of the concurrent social movement and the broad political consensus it generated, any attempts to replicate the aesthetics of the fashion will always be missing a key ingredient and therefore will never quite have the same impact or relevance as the original movement.

Futurism

Futurist fashion takes advantage of the technological leaps we have made over the last decade or so and is greatly inspired by concurrent advances in artificial intelligence. As with psychotropic designs, futurism embraces the increasingly synthetic nature of our world, but unlike psychotropics, it celebrates this aspect of our modern world and makes no attempt to balance it with natural themes.

With computers becoming smaller and more sophisticated, we are rapidly approaching an age where even our clothes will be connected to the world around us in the same way that our smartphones are now. Ultra light, protective, and thermos regulating clothes are all being designed and some are expected to enter the prototype stage before the year is out. Futurism also marks the first time that the fashion industry will collaborate extensively with other industries, in particular the technology and computing fields, whose own work is driving the development of the necessary advances that are making futurist designs a possibility.

In the same way that psychotropic fashion evokes natural themes, futurism is designed to evoke otherworldly themes. The materials involved are unlike anything previously seen in the fashion world which aids in creating a true sense of the future. The incorporation of LED lights and flexible screens opens up new worlds of possibilities for designs and individual customization. They represent the first steps on the road to programmable clothing whose appearance can be set and altered at will by the wearer.

3D printing has radically transformed our approach to manufacturing in a variety of areas, but the technology is still in its infancy, although it is maturing fast. As it does so, we move ever closer to being able to 3D print fabrics as well as incorporating metal fibers resembling cotton that are capable of conducting electricity into the design. Sportswear manufacturer Nike has already turned to 3D printing in order to produce a running shoe that it describes as being the most advanced ever made.

Near Field Communication (NFC) is the technology that underpins contactless card payments, it allows a device to emit a small field that, when in range of a device capable of reading it, can transmit and receive information. In the future, it could be incorporated into clothing, allowing the wearer to experience a previously unthinkable level of immersion and interaction with technology around them.

Metamaterial science is the science of designing and producing materials with specific desired properties. There are endless applications for such technology in everyday life and the fashion world is quickly waking up to the potential offered for designing clothes. For example, fabrics that change color according to temperature or weather conditions may soon be within our reach.

Bohemianism

Bohemian fashion, much like psychedelic fashion, has never really gone away since its inception, although its popularity has waxed and waned. Starting in 2013, bohemianism has seen a popular resurgence and is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, bohemianism is now spawning offshoots that are also proving to be increasingly popular. The most recognizable features of bohemian fashion and the ones most commonly associated with the trend are flared denim, sandals, and loose, flowing clothes.

Bohemian fashion first emerged as early as the 1860’s when the bohemian lifestyle referred to someone who had made a conscious decision to withdraw from the usual conventions of the society they lived in. In those early days, it was loose, flowing clothes and more relaxed hairstyles that typified the movement and the accompanying fashion trend. During the 1920’s, the bohemian fashion trend underwent what is now referred to widely as a ‘jazz age’ during which bobbed hair replaced the previous trend for naturally flowing, untamed hair. The beginning of the great depression and the arrival of World War 2 and its accompanying rationing led to widespread re-evaluation of the trend and the emphasis switched to sourcing cheaper materials and employing them creatively in designs.

Following the end of the war and the transition to a more globalized world, bohemianism began to take inspiration from other fashion trends from around the world, kaftans from the Middle East, kimonos from Japan, and exotic Hungarian embroidery were all incorporated into the Western bohemian style, and their influence has remained strong ever since.

One of the contemporary offshoots of bohemianism that looks set to become even more popular in 2018 is the ‘surf gypsy’ style. It is one of the subsets of bohemianism that has arisen from the influence of other cultures and fashions from around the world. The style revolves around multi-colored, lightweight fabrics and a relaxed surfer inspired vibe. The style has attracted the attention of manufacturers looking to promote sustainable fabric production and as such is attracting a large number of those who would previously have opted for psychedelic or hippy options. Clothes in this style match well with bedroom décor from VisionBedding.

Few industries move as fast or as unpredictably as fashion and, while predicting the future trends of the industry is very difficult, by looking at the history of what has come before and how trends that have fallen out of favor re-emerge down the line we can make an educated prediction as to what direction the industry is heading in. 2018 looks set to be another year full of twists and surprises, but hopefully it will also see the arrival of new technological innovations and gives us our first glimpse at what the future of fashion might look like.

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